The Good Marionette - Part One

The story begins many, many years ago, but in the essence of time, we’ll jump ahead to a picturesque fall day in small-town Georgia. The crispness of the unusually dry, cool air gives her goosebumps, but the warmth of her companions in this moment creates a beautiful balance—a perfect yin and yang of cold and hot, vulnerability and protection.

She has felt love before, but never to this extent. She has never felt it so deeply, so unconditionally. She is adored, appreciated, needed, nurtured, lovingly held during this period of her life more than she has been in decades, if ever.

As time goes on, one of her companions continues to need and even adore her for a while. Another comes along and follows the lead of the first, filling her up so much she feels as if she’ll burst open with all this love. And though their need for her eventually begins to wane, their love and appreciation never do. Their lenses are untainted.

Her other companion—we’ll call her Lemoi—is more . . . finicky. Lemoi’s love comes with certain terms. “You pull out your Superwoman cape and make shit happen and, sure, I’ll love you . . . for a while,” she declares. “You impress them with your pleasing facade, and I’ll adore you… for today.”

“Just don’t slow down, slip up, shine too bright, show too much . . . or, believe me, you’ll feel my wrath.”

So she continues to perform in a way that appeases her constant companion, much like the marionette whose puppeteer pulls and yanks her strings. She makes sure to play the part to perfection.

represented by ART AVENUE GALLERIES, Sarasota, FL

represented by ART AVENUE GALLERIES, Sarasota, FL


And life is good . . . until it isn’t. Life seems to go downhill when the string holding one of her legs snaps. The puppeteer fumbles in dismay as she loses control. Activities like biking, exercising, sitting on the ground, and engaging with her toddler (which have all been taken for granted) no longer happen with ease.

Lemoi is furious. “Push through!” she yells, filled with confusion and even disgust.

And so she tries. She tries to satisfy her master and move through life as if the string is still there guiding her. She knows what is expected of her.

As time goes on, however, the other strings begin to weaken as well. The threads unravel bit by bit under the intense control of their puppet master. The strings holding her organs, her hormones, her energy, even her brain all snap, in quick succession as her companion fights for control. She has been holding onto the reins for dear life as long as possible—months, years even—as she fails to see the threads of those strings come apart. Though she doesn’t realize it, all of Lemoi’s brute force, resistance, hatred, disgust, and impatience for her companion severs them further. All of the intense pulling weakens her to the point of collapse.

Collapse looks like an exhausted heap—head resting in sleep on the dining room table amid a lovingly prepared anniversary meal by a man whose love for her far outweighs her flaws as she perceives them. His love, though, isn’t enough to lift her from the heavy burden of hatred she feels from her most constant companion.

Collapse looks like lying fetal position on the bathroom floor in the wee hours of the night with horrendous pain and nausea.

Collapse looks like a clouded mind swirling with thoughts of ending it all.

Collapse looks like, well, an unanchored puppet in a flattened pile that has had enough of the performance and just needs a break.

In Part Two, I share how she helps her companion understand that she has been blessing her with whispers to lovingly support her all along.

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